“[The PPP] really made the difference to help keep businesses open and help keep people employed.”

This is a quote from Frank Sterbin, a proud Marquette University MBA graduate and Senior Vice President of Business Banking with Town Bank. This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Frank about the effect the Payroll Protection Program, more commonly known as the “PPP,” has had on small businesses in the Near West Side.

Frank Sterbin is the Senior Vice President of Business Banking with Town Bank

Some of the interview responses have been slightly edited for better cohesion and readability.

Emma Hazeltine: Can you tell me about the Payroll Protection Program?

Frank Sterbin:
The PPP Program at its core was intended to help keep people employed through the pandemic who may have been let go, had their hours reduced, or had their income impacted in some other way. In order to receive the loans, a business would calculate their annual payroll or employee-related costs, divide it by 12 to get a monthly cost, and then apply for a loan for 2.5 times that amount. If the loan is used in accordance with the Small Business Administration (SBA) guidelines, businesses can receive up to 100% loan forgiveness.
To hear Frank talk more about the calculations behind the PPP loan program, click the link below:

EH: What is the role of Town Bank in the PPP initiative?
FS: Town bank, similar to other regulated banks in the country, facilitated helping businesses obtaining PPP loan authorization from the SBA to be able to help our clients participate in the PPP program. The second piece of that, which we’re just kind of embarking on right now, is the forgiveness program. Right now, almost everyone has received PPP funds and went through the authorization process. Now, we must apply for forgiveness of the PPP funds. The goal is that 100% of the PPP funds will be forgiven for our clients.
EH: What are the new needs of local businesses in the Near West Side?
FS: I would say it really depends. If we have a second wave of COVID-19 come through, which is a possibility in my opinion, there may be additional measures that need to be taken by the federal government. They may need to look at things like a second round of PPP, other non-PPP assistance– I think the common wisdom in the market is that the economy is going to come back relatively quickly. Possibly by the end of the year.
EH: What would you like to see as a proposed solution?
FS: The proposed solution really depends on what the situation is at the time. I think the economy is starting to come back, albeit slowly, but the next few months will be really telling as far as: Do we see a second wave? Will the employment numbers grow or remain flat? Without knowing exactly what the next 12 months hold, it’s really hard to say what I think the solution is.
To hear Frank speak more about potential solutions, click the audio link below.
I would like to thank Frank Sterbin for taking the time to speak with me about the PPP impact in the Near West Side. To learn more about the Payroll Protection Program, you can visit the Small Business Administration’s website here.

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